In spite of the magnitude of this problem, lack of awareness and entrenched stigma keep 80% of young people from getting help. Children and adolescents who suffer from depression, anxiety and conduct disorders are at increased risk for academic failure, substance abuse, a clash with the juvenile justice system, suicide and chronic illnesses — all of which come at a tremendous cost to them, their families, and the community.
Together, we can make enormous strides in addressing mental health:
1) We can promote and support the creation of trauma-informed communities. Being a trauma-informed community means there is a commitment from all community sectors—education, law enforcement and juvenile justice, local government agencies, faith, housing, health care and business—to work towards common goals in reducing adversity and building resiliency.
2) We can ensure the physical and emotional needs of our children are met so they become resilient in the face of adversity. Parents, caregivers, teachers and other adults who interface with children play a vital role in providing the basic foundation for good physical and mental health which include: unconditional love and affection; nutritious food; a safe, healthy living environment; adequate sleep and exercise; the opportunity to socialize and play with other children; respect, encouragement and support; and appropriate routines, goals, guidance and discipline. When kids’ needs go unmet they often adopt deviant, risky behaviors and coping mechanisms, tend to struggle academically and socially and face significantly higher diagnoses of mental illness.
3) We can provide children with tools, strategies and practices to help manage emotions, stress, anxiety, depression and their behaviors. Sensory-based interventions help kids identify the sensations that rise up within themselves when triggered or during a stressful situation. Teaching mind-body connections and having kids repetitively practice utilizing sensory-based tools, skills and strategies will help them learn to self-regulate and feel in control. Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, exercise, music, hand-held manipulative toys (stress balls, play doh, ect.), drawing, coloring, and cooking are just a few activities that have been shown to help kids develop the ability to calm and regulate themselves—which leads to greater resiliency, positive coping skills and improved mental health.
These materials are provided to you by Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s
Eat Well, Be Well Nutrition Outreach Program.
For more tips and information, please visit www.blythedale.org/kohls.
Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.
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